Artist Goals 2015 – Finding Opportunities + Free Worksheet

Looking for opportunities and threats

Look for opportunities to grow your art business but don’t forget to to avoid the rocks (threats)…

Now is a great time to think about all of the opportunities you could discover and take advantage of in the coming year. This year make it a point to find new opportunities for you as an artist and for your art business as well.

Knowing what your opportunities are gives your art business a solid sense of direction and a basis to develop your strategies. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes and you need to look for them because they may not be looking for you. Examples of opportunities could be new places and venues to show and sell your work, a better way to produce your art, market trends, or a better ways to run your business. If you think about it there are probably quite a few opportunities you should be looking at right now!

Capitalize on opportunities and minimize threats

On the other side of the coin your art business may also face obstacles or threats. Knowing the threats that face your art business will help you plan ahead and make changes as needed. Threats could come from the health of the economy, governmental regulations, changes in consumer tastes and don’t forget about your competition.

An easy way to think about opportunities and threats is that they are factors that are external to your art business. In business speak they are called “environmental” factors – not necessarily the green kind but even this is becoming more important in the business world.

Put simply – you capitalize on or take advantage of opportunities and you reduce or eliminate the threats that face your creative business. Along with strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats form a basis for your art business’s goals and strategies.

How to get started – Use this free worksheet

Opportunities and Threats Planning Form

Get out a piece of paper and pencil and list the Opportunities and Threats that face your art business or use a form like this

The easiest place to start is by taking a piece of paper and drawing a vertical line so you have two columns – one labeled Opportunities and the other labeled Threats. List your opportunities in the Opportunities column and the threats your business faces in the Threats column – simple.

If you want to take the process a bit further I invite you to download and use the Creatives and Business Opportunities and Threats Worksheet.  This worksheet will help you gather your thoughts, determine how much of an opportunity or threat an item is and to prioritize items that really need your attention.

Here are some ideas to help you identify your opportunities and threats:

  • Are there new shows or exhibits that you should be thinking about?
  • Are there new online or social media opportunities to grow your brand, show and sell your art?
  • Are there blogs, websites, newspapers, digital resources or people that I should be paying attention to?
  • What is happening with your local, regional, national and international economy and will this affect your art business?
  • What is your competition doing (or not doing)?
  • Are there changes in consumer tastes / fashion, or behavior that you can take advantage of?
  • Are there changes in consumer lifestyles / behavior or market trends that could have a negative impact on your art business?
  • Are there regulations or government policies that affect or will affect your business? These could be factors that affect how you produce or sell your product.
  • Are there market forces that may affect how your products are sold, distributed or paid for?
  • Are there environmental regulations that affect the materials and processes you use?
  • Are there new technologies that may change the way how art is made, distributed and marketed?
  • What is happening with the supplies, labor and raw materials you need to produce your products?
  • Anything else you can think of!

A way of thinking

You should look at your list opportunities and threats at least once a year or more often – whatever makes sense to you. As you begin to look at the art business world through the opportunities and threats lens you should become better at identifying these external factors. One of the characteristics of successful business people is that they are good at indentifying and taking advantage of opportunities – you can be good at this as well, it just takes a bit of practice.

The bottom line(s)…

Once you have written your opportunities and threats then you can start thinking about: the things you need to do, changes you need to make, and the resources required to take advantage of these opportunities. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for threats that may that my negatively affect your art business. Knowing the opportunities and threats that affect your art business will give you some great ideas to help you develop your goals for the coming year.

This should get you started in analyzing your Opportunities and Threats. The World is full of opportunities – it is up to you to take advantage of them to grow your art business and brand.  Please share this article with your artist and creative friends.  Good Luck!

If you would like to find out more about analyzing your opportunities and threats and developing a business or marketing plan I invite you to check out my book, The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox. In the book you will find the business tools you need to succeed in your art business.


Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver.

Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto